A five-storeyed building collapse in Lalita Park area of Delhi in November 2010 had killed 70 people and injured 77 others. Even with the disaster being of such great magnitude, this has invited only Rs 21,000 fine on the Junior Engineer (J.E.), Rajendra Kaushik. This amount will be deducted from Kaushik’s one year pension of Rs 35,000 in 12 installments. This means that a meagre Rs 1,750 will be deducted every month for an year.
After much uproar over this decision, a meeting of the committee was set up by the municipality corporation on July 11. They deemed fining just one person for this mishap inappropriate, however, corporation refrained from commenting on the progress of the investigation in this matter.
It is to be noted that the building was found to be poorly constructed and without a proper risk-assessment of the load-bearing wall. This building housed close to 200 hundred people and on the day of disaster, close to 150 people were inside the building.
Post the incident, owner of the building, Amrit Singh was arrested and several other officials of the municipality were suspended. In 2012, the Vigilance Department of the Corporation filed a charge sheet against J.E. Rajendra Kaushik. The chargesheet filed said that the damaged third and fourth floor was illegally made in 2005, but due to conspiracy, the illegal construction was not stopped. After this, the Vigilance department had then recommended 5% deduction from Kaushik’s pension, that is Rs 21,000. Kaushik retired from the service in 2016.
As reported by Dainik Jagran, Gunjan Gupta, Chairperson of the committee, Eastern Corporation, said that while an entire chain of corporation officers were responsible for this mishap, action against only J.E. was taken. She further said that investigation has been initiated to bring all those responsible to task.
Bipin Bihari Singh, mayor East Delhi MCD said that only after investigation report on this matter, one can comment on the involvement of other officers. However, he accepted that it was not possible that only one person could be responsible for this.
J.E. Kaushik said that he has been wronged. He also said that the concerned area was under his jurisdiction only for five month and that the said illegal construction was not carried out in that time.
The Logical Indian take
Over 70 people lost their lives and the only action taken was to impose fine of meagre Rs 21,000. Is this the worth of a human life? Eight years have passed and the victims still await justice. The Logical Indian hopes that proper investigation is carried out and all those involved be awarded proper punishment.
Read more at: Dainik Jagran